Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Action This TV Weekend

A couple of action-oriented dramas make their debut this weekend.

I've screened the pilot for "Flashpoint" (CBS, 10 p.m.), in which Enrico Colantoni leads an elite squad of SWAT members both on and off the job. If this sounds a bit like the network's "The Unit," you aren't that far off. That's the vibe I got from it.

It's not a terrible show, but there wasn't a whole lot that seemed that fresh or interesting either. The pilot centers around a hostage crisis at a city plaza and the effect it has on one of the unit's snipers.

The way it's written, out of sequence, is a little confusing for the viewer, and it doesn't reach the emotional punch it's going for.

Meanwhile, the miniseries "Generation Kill" debuts on HBO this Sunday at 9 p.m. It's from David Simon and Ed Burns, who brought "The Wire" to the same network, so there's a lot of anticipation for this one.

I didn't get the pilot, so I can't tell you what's up with it, but I'm hoping it reverses the recent trend of Iraq-based movies and TV series that failed to draw an audience. Most of the movies about Iraq over the past two or three years have suffered at the box office, probably more to do with the nation being burned out by the war rather than the quality of the movies themselves.

The Steven Bochco TV series "Over There" for FX failed to generate much viewer support, though it wasn't a great series.

"Generation Kill" is based on the adventures of a journalist embedded with an American military unit, and the series will be told from the journalist's point of view.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: "Stargate: Atlantis" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) kicks off a new season tonight, following a new episode of "Doctor Who" at 9 p.m. This week's "DW" is the weakest of the season by far, but the next three weeks are so kick-ass that it's forgiven.

Something called "Dance Machine" (ABC, 8 p.m.) airs tonight. I don't know if this is the first one or not, but apparently it revolves around a farmer and animator having a dance-off. It's a good excuse to go out tonight.

On Saturday, "Robin Hood" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) is new after taking a break last week.

On Sunday, "Masterpiece: Mystery" (PBS, 9 p.m.) kicks off a new series of the excellent "Foyle's War" as the title detective (Michael Kitchens) is called out of retirement while writing his memoirs.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: The new season of the hideous "Big Brother" (CBS, 8 p.m.) kicks off. That's the last time I plan to mention it.


zodin2008 said...

The reason why most of the Iraq or Middle East related movies and TV have failed to generate much money in the last few years may have something to do with "war fatigue" and the fact that the real thing is going on, but don't fail to mention that the vast majority of these films:

In the Valley of Elan, Grace is Gone, Lions for Lambs, Rendition, Jarhead (the latter two both co-starring Jake Gyllenhall) have been starkly CRITICAL of the War, or at least that's the implied intent of these films. I think "Over There" also was not a flattering portrayel of our brave men & women.

Look, are there bad people among the U.S. soldiers? Of course. Does everyone agree with going into Iraq? Of course not. But the majority of Americans, thankfully are patriotic and do not prescribe to the far left wing of the Democratic party, which unfortunately is where most of these filmmakers and a lot of their actors are.

I was reading in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly that Oliver Stone, who's movies I mostly like to avoid, because they are nothing more than his version of a world view, is currently making a movie about George W. Bush and has name actors playing Bush, Laura, Cheney, Condi Rice, et all.

The problem? Bush is STILL IN OFFICE. In Stone's warped brain, this movie is being released in October, I ASSUME (whether he'd ever admit this publicly) it's deliberately being released right before the election to try and affect the outcome in favor of Obama over McCain.

The problem with this thinking and making a film about Bush while he's still President, is it will simply anoy most of the country and actually probably help McCain, because most voters are in the center and they will think this is rather pathetic and be turned off by it.

(sorry for expounding into the controversial topic of politics - I say all this as an independent who's not a fan of either candidate).

Now back to HBO's upcoming "Generation Kill", my immediate response in hearing about this show: didn't this already fail once just 2 years ago on FX? My wife and I tried to watch and we found the show dull, annoying and not exactly flattering to our troops. I admit it...I am a patriot and I have no stomach for most of these shows or movies that are simply made to bash the U.S. Why not more movies bashing the people that are causing all the evil in the world - Islamic Jihadists? Of course not...we live in the "Blame America" society now.

(off my soapbox)

"Flashpoint" sounds mediocre as well. Sigh.

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, I'll just say I don't think Generation Kill is being presented as either pro or anti anything, and it looks like it's not taking itself too seriously, unlike Over There.

aderack said...

Whoa, what the hell. You're not talking about "Midnight", are you? Possibly the best episode of Doctor Who that has ever aired? From 1963 on?

It certainly blows away the rest of this decidedly so-so season, though the next three episodes are good in their own way.

Phillip Ramati said...

Wow, you and I must have watched different episodes of Midnight, because I thought it just blew.

It didn't help that it aired after what were two of the best-ever episodes, penned by the great Stephen Moffat, and is airing just before the fantastic finale (one of TV's all-time great cliffhangers in the penultimate episode).

None of the Doctor's fellow passengers were remotely likeable, the monster didn't make any sense, and none of the viewer's questions were answered.